The 'Shroom:Issue 107/Critic Corner

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Director's Notes

Written by: Crocodile Dippy (talk)

Issue100 dippy.png

Dippy Dippy Dippy just jumped over Jumpman
Dippy Dippy Dippy just jumped over Jumpman

Dippy Dippy Dippy I feel so accomplished
I done talked a lot of shit but I just did the numbers
SMB and Pidgey, man you know they love it
If 'Shroom ain't have Stooby, man they wouldn't have nothin', woo
If 'Shroom ain't have Poochy, man they wouldn't have nothin', ooh!

Dipster West here, delivering another hard-hitting political anthem of our generation:

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Deep. Very deep.

Anyway, welcome to the mini-special issue 107, where we're honouring the 30th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda as well as the 20th anniversary of Pokémon, which I most certainly owe a lot to given I'm a bogan Pikachu wearing a slouch hat. I'm so adorable, you know it. Anyway, we've just got the standard affair this month... oh yea, and we have a new addition to our writing crew, Meta Knight (talk), who will be writing a new section each month titled Boss Reviews, where he'll be covering different boss battles throughout the gaming world. Keep your eyes on that one each month, it'll be a real blast.

Nothing much else to say... oh yea, except the results for THE LIGHTNING OPINION PIECE CONTEST that we held over the past two months, which were open to public voting over the past month. I didn't reveal who wrote which section for obvious reasons, so let's see who actually wrote what last month:

  • Entrant OneNabber (talk) (covering the class and socioeconomic struggles of the Donkey Kong universe)
  • Entrance TwoEpic Nitwit (talk) (covering the curious theory of the Donkey Kong lineage)
  • Entrant ThreeWalkazo (talk) (covering her thoughts and experiences with the original Donkey Kong Country)
  • Entrant FourThe Pyro Guy (talk) (covering his thoughts and experiences with Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze)

So, that's the entrants that you voted on. Let's see how they all fared in the votes...

WOOOOOOOOOO! Congratulations, Nabber; your dissertation on Kong politics has earned you the winning spot in this contest! You should be proud, buddy, you get a heap of 'Shroom tokens... and of course, the $50 Steam or e-Shop game from me, whenever you're ready to collect. Let's give it for Sammy the Salmon Nabber, and his amazing salmon dance Opinion Piece entry! And of course, good job to everyone else who participated, and thank you so much for helping me breath a little extra life into Critic Corner these past few months. You're all beautiful, lovely people. Anyway, let's move on...

Section of the Month

Critic Corner SECTION OF THE MONTH
Place Section Votes % Writer
1st The Stoob Tube 7 38.89% Stooben Rooben (talk)
2nd Location, Location 4 22.22% Time Turner (talk)
3rd Marioverse Reviews 2 11.11% PowerKamek (talk)
3rd Crocodile Style Reviews 2 11.11% Crocodile Dippy (talk)
3rd Character Reviews 2 11.11% Yoshi876 (talk)

Congrats to you, Stooberino! You and your laggy as hell Stoob Tube on Bojack Horseman has secured you your first SOTM win here at Critic Corner, you've done the world a great service by introducing MarioWikians to the wonders of Bojack! And of course, good job to the runners up; I'm in a rush, I can't elaborate any further, but y'all obviously did well to get acknowledgment from the public. I mean goddamn, three-way tie, how often does that happen? ...probably a lot, actually. Anyway, good work!


Reviews

PowerKamek does skids in this review of Mario Kart 8.
[read more]

Dippy is large and in charge in this review of Shadow of the Colossus.
[read more]

DragonFreak channels her inner warlord in Pokémon Conquest.
[read more]

Yoshi876 gives an electrifying character review of Pikachu!
[read more]

Time Turner turns back to Mario Party Advance to discuss Bowser Pad.
[read more]

Meta Knight shows who's really the boss around the block.
[read more]

obit writer depicts swimming pool full of corpses
[read more]
Opinion Pieces



Marioverse Reviews

Written by: PowerKamek (talk)

Box NA - Mario Kart 8.jpg

Hello everybody! It’s PowerKamek, and I take this review to the racing game that really made me happy. It came out in 2014, and it has the most sales on the Wii U. It is… MARIO KART 8!!!

I love Mario Kart 8! I mean a lot! I’ve played this game non-stop since it first came out. When I race, I love looking at the background, and enjoying the scenic views. It’s like art to me. I’m a person who’d rather enjoy the views then the actual racing. Sunshine Airport is my favorite course. It has an awesome feeling to me that feels like you’re in Hawaii. When I first played that course, it made my summer better because it made me feel that I was on vacation.

Ok, I said I love this game, but maybe not all of it. I really hate battle mode. All the battles don’t feel like the real Mario Kart. Instead of battling in battle courses, you battle in RACING courses. Battling on a racing course feels more like a race than a battle to me. I always lose because I “race” instead of battle. I go around the laps and then wonder why people are going backwards. Yeah. Battle Mode isn’t the best in my opinion. But on the bright side, Mario Kart 9 could be coming and battle mode could be great again.

Even though battle mode isn’t the best, Mario Kart TV is amazing! I can look at my recent Highlight Reels, and the most popular ones too. The thing that I like the most is that you get to edit the Highlight Reels and upload them to YouTube. It may take time, but it’s worth it. Also, I can look at my favorite Highlight Reels.

The DLC Packs are the best things on Mario Kart 8 in my opinion. They are $8.00 each, and full of 6 new characters, 16 new courses, and 8 new vehicles. In Pack 1, my favorite course is Yoshi Circuit. I like it because it is shaped like Yoshi, and he is my 2nd favorite character. In Pack 2, Nintendo really did good with it! I love the remade GBA courses, and they’re my two favorite courses on Mario Kart: Super Circuit also! Cheese Land and Ribbon Road! They look much better in this game than they did in MKSC. They really changed Ribbon Road! It became a bedroom with a playset, which is really creative!

Mario Kart 8 is full of HD Courses, Mario Kart TV, great online connection, and great DLC. It is a great game! Now, let me demonstrate the Pros and Cons and I will give you the rating!

Pros: HD Courses, Mario Kart TV, Great Online Connection, DLC.
Cons: Battle Mode, Some courses are not very interesting.

OK, four Pros, and two Cons. I will give this game a 9/10. The second con isn’t a big deal, and the game means a lot to me, so if you don’t own this game, it is really great, and I’d recommend it. Thanks!


Crocodile Style Reviews

Written by: Crocodile Dippy (talk)

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Ico
Ico Boxart.jpg
Developer Team Ico
Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3
Genres Action-adventure, platformer, puzzle
Rating(s)
ESRB:ESRB T.svg - Teen
PEGI:PEGI 12.svg - Twelve years and older
ACB:ACB PG.svg - Parental guidance
Available From

Shadow of the Colossus
ShadowoftheColossus Boxart.jpg
Developer Team Ico
Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3
Genres Platformer, puzzle, hack-and-slash
Rating(s)
ESRB:ESRB T.svg - Teen
PEGI:PEGI 12.svg - Twelve years and older
ACB:ACB M.svg - Mature
Available From

It’s February, everyone! Grab your boyfriends, girlfriends, or body pillows, take them out to a nice dinner at McDonalds, and spend the rest of the evening playing Mario Kart and hoping your relationship doesn’t fall apart over a bloody Blue Shell! Me, I’ll be doing none of those things because I’m a hopeless shut-in who is married to my music and video games, so I’ve been spending all my time playing Ico and Shadow of the Colossus in preparation for The Last Guardian release that’ll hopefully be happening this year because if they delay it once more I think that would split my heart in two… which admittedly, wouldn’t be too unfitting for this month. Anyway, getting straight down to the point, I’m reviewing those two games this month to let you know why they are the absolute shit (as in, good).

So, first up is Ico, the narcissistically titled debut release from Team Ico, which fits most loosely into the realm of “action-adventure,” but in all honesty, it’s a lot of things. The plot follows a young boy with horns who has been captured by a group of racist ranchers, presumably to be used for bullfighting entertainment, who gets locked away in a castle prison only to be released by pure chance when an earthquake hits. He finds a girl trapped in a cage, and after rescuing her, the two become inseparable allies by virtue of being the only two berks in the castle that aren’t made out of water paint. Gameplay then becomes an even split between solving puzzles and protecting the girl from her scribbly captors by way of poking them in the eye with a big stick, in what I call the Teddy Roosevelt method of solving problems.

IcoScreenshot.jpg

The puzzles form the primary focus of Ico, but are structured around parkour and platforming as you traverse the elaborate castle to find levers or blocks to open up paths that your less athletic partner can traverse, also helping her climb ledges or leap over large gaps because even bull-horned young boys need to be chivalrous. While this sounds like it might get old but the game’s very engaging level design actually do a lot to keep the game intriguing, aided by how beautiful the environments tend to be give how shit-brown the majority of the castle is, and once you figure out the general premise of most puzzles, the parkour then takes on a really nice flow to it.

Combat is kind of where things get a little muddier, since it follows the same pattern as Beyond Good & Evil where you simply spam a single button to swing a stick at things until they’re no longer moving, although your movements in Ico are far more awkward and stunted than Jade’s more dextrous athleticism. It can make fighting off the hordes of tar-monsters tedious at best, an absolute goddamn chore at worst, not helped by the escort mechanic carrying over into combat scenarios wherein your mute girlfriend will just kind of stand around and let every boy in the club try to take her back to their place. While Ico is a lot better than most escort games in that you’re actually provided a fairly large window of opportunity to rescue her before you get a game over, but it can get more than a little tiresome having to literally drag this chick’s drunk arse out of the dark gutter every bloody minute.

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You may wondering, then, what about this game makes it stand out so much aside from it being the Radiohead guitarist’s favourite game… well see, the real hook of the game comes in the interaction between the lead characters, as their co-dependency is told through in-game actions and gestures over dialogue, creating a genuine attachment to the girl that almost reminds me of a less talkative version of The Prince and Farah’s escalating relationship in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time before they started smoking weed and calling each other whores in the sequels. The ending levels in particular do a lot to hit the player with an emotional storm without ever being bombastic or overbearing, which is a level of maturity that most games just don’t approach when dealing with matters of love and relationships in video games, and for that reason, I find Ico a truly marvellous exercise in games as a medium for storytelling and exploring more meaningful subjects than how many people with foreign accents you can stick a bullet through. But still, Ico is likely only going to be enjoyable to you if you lean towards the arty farty side of things, and may prove infuriating to the more impatient gamer. These will generally be the same people screaming into their mics on Battlefield and making a mess of the doctor’s waiting room because they can’t sit still for five fucking minutes.

But now we move on to a game that has secured its place in my heart as my all-time favourite game for its sheer scale and unique action-packed gameplay, Shadow of the Colossus, a game that continues to be the undefeated champion of colossi-slaying simulators to this day… if not just because no one else has attempted to dethrone it. The story goes that the player character’s girlfriend was sacrificed by his tribe for some nondescript reason, so he’s taken her to forbidden lands which he learns from the demon groundskeeper is actually the world’s largest petting zoo, and the sword you wield can be employed as a makeshift backscratcher for all the giant farm animals. So your character makes a deal with this demon to revive her in exchange for slaughtering 16 giants, which feels like a raw deal in any normal person’s book. Maybe this chick owes him $20 he really needs for petrol or something, I don’t know.

ShadowoftheColossusScreenshot2.jpg

So thus, the premise of the game is set up, with the primary goal being the only goal in the entire game. While the world in Shadow of the Colossus is absolutely bloody massive, there’s very little actually in it aside from some landmarks and shrines with geckos running around them, with your only threat in this entire world being the 16 colossi… and fall damage, if you’re that clumsy with the controller. Usually I’d take issue with a massive but empty world, but in the context of Shadow of the Colossus, it serves to create a sense of overwhelming scale that really makes these lands feel big and unwelcoming to a small, insignificant little human such as you, which is only aided by the impressive boss fights.

Oh yes, no game to this day has managed to replicate the sheer levels of adrenaline and excitement that the colossi fights in this game have inflicted upon me, and even after multiple playthroughs, I still come out of each fight feeling like a real badass motherfucker for having taken down beasts the size of the Empire State Building. Colossi fights are equal part action and puzzle, requiring you to first survey the opponent’s quirks and your surroundings and then work out how to exploit them to reveal the boss’ weak points, which inexplicably glow a helpful bright white for the convenience of any lunatics happening to pass by their dens. Not what you’d call a good display of natural selection, I don’t think. From there, it then becomes a task of climbing onto the bugger’s to stab at their sore spots, clinging for dear life as they desperately try to shake you off, balancing between hanging on to get a good whack at their open wounds and finding a good resting spot on them to regenerate your Grip Metre. Everything ties into each other supremely well and offers a great sense of personal accomplishment both mentally and viscerally when you finally manage to topple each colossus, especially the ones that require you to ride around firing arrows from on your horse in order to even hope to outrun the bastards.

The juxtaposition between the quiet open-world environments and the rattling, chaotic boss fights serves to settle the player down and avoid sensory overload, which is always important to make sure your game doesn’t become an exhausting ride without any contrast to frame or define the action. Everything about this game is designed with the intent of making you feel tiny and unimportant, like a small speck on the world whose meagre existence is only vaguely justified in the context of you being a plaything of a demonic higher force. The colossi (minus the smaller, elephant-sized ones) all move with a slow, lumbering gait and create a powerful quake with each of their steps, and their bodies and armour are so covered in moss and dirt that they genuinely feel like beings that were asleep for thousands of years before you decided to be a dick and wake them up for a nice round of Let’s Kill the Big Monsters.

To summarise as succinctly as possible! Ico is a beautifully atmospheric and cute little puzzle game that explores character dynamics and romance in a far more compelling, mature way than most games have even to this day, but may prove a bit too artsy and slow-paced for the more thrill-seeking gamer; while Shadow of the Colossus is a hectic, balls-to-the-walls fun puzzle action platformer thing whose primary flaw is that you’ll slip on a colossi’s back pimples and fall back to the ground to repeat the puzzle process over again, which is liable to turn you colossi against your poor controller.

The 'Shroom: Crocodile Style Reviews
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2011
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Psychonauts
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Assassin's Creed: Revelations
2012
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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
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Ōkami
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NeverDead
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Kid Icarus: Uprising and Asura's Wrath
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I Am Alive and Journey
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Prototype 2
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Dragon's Dogma
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Spec Ops: The Line
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Darksiders II
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Sleeping Dogs
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Dishonored
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Assassin's Creed III
2013
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PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
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MediEvil
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Dead Space 3 and Crysis 3
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Tomb Raider
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BioShock Infinite
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Metro: Last Light
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Remember Me
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The Last of Us
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State of Decay and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
2015
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Half-Life series
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Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
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Darkest Dungeon and Hand of Fate
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Bloodborne
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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
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Splatoon
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Life Is Strange
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Until Dawn
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Mad Max
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Guitar Hero Live and Rock Band 4
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Assassin's Creed: Syndicate
2016
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Fallout 4
Ico Icon.png
Ico and Shadow of the Colossus
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Far Cry: Primal

DragonFreak's Review Quest

Written by: DragonFreak (talk)

Pokémon Conquest
PokemonConquest Boxart.jpg
Developer Tecmo Koei
Publisher The Pokémon Company
Platform(s) Nintendo DS
Genres Tactical role-playing game
Rating(s)
ESRB:ESRB E.svg - Everyone
PEGI:PEGI 3.svg - Three years and older
ACB:ACB G.svg - General

This month is Pokémon’s 30th anniversary so I thought it would be fitting to review a Pokémon game, although it took me awhile to figure out which one I should review. I decided not to do any of the main games/generation sequels. Not that they are bad, there is not much to talk about with those games. Then there is Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. I have only played Red Rescue Team, and honestly I do not like it. The story was great and made me shed a tear, but the gameplay is one of the worst I have ever played. It just would not make for a good review for me. Since I have not played any of the console Pokémon games, that leaves me only one real option: Pokémon Conquest.

Last summer I picked up a copy of Pokémon Conquest from GameStop since it has been on my to-play list for a long time, basically since it was announced. I was drawn to how different it is compared to the main series Pokémon franchise. The game takes place what has to be hundreds of years ago from the main series, about the Medieval Era, which I am a sucker for. The setting is a previously unknown region called Ransei. Ransei is made up of 17 different kingdoms all with their own highly unique map, Pokémon, and obstacles. I really wish that Ransei was in the main series, because that would be extremely interesting. Especially since you do not travel Ransei like the main series, but instead can instantly travel between Kingdoms (that is of course you are allowed to). I can imagine traveling on routes between the Kingdoms like routes between cities in the main series, and I feel like that would be really amazing. I do not think it will ever happen, but it will always be a neat idea to me.

If you are familiar with the Final Fantasy Tactics spinoffs, Pokémon Conquest plays very similar, if not exactly the same. The normal playstyle of Pokémon is traveling on an overworld where you wander around and randomly encounter Pokémon or trainers, where you battle them one-on-one. In Conquest, you and your team battle all at once on a large field within a Kingdom, while your opponent also has a team on usually the opposite side with their whole team fighting you. It is sort of like Fire Emblem in a way, but the attack system is much more complicated. The attacks each Pokémon vary in ranges and the shape of their attacks. Just to name a few, some attacks only hit the space ahead, some hit only the second space ahead, some the space ahead but the target Pokémon is knocked back a space, some affects the next two or three spaces in front of it, and one attack in an X formation. It adds an interesting strategy where you must position yourself correctly for maximum damage. You can also hit multiple Pokémon with one attack, which is really satisfying when you KO multiple opponent Pokémon at the same time. However, this mechanic does come at a price. Unlike many other RPGs, your attacks can hit your own party members. Not only must you be in the right position, but you have to be cautious as to not also harm your own Pokémon. I really like this style of RPGs, something that I find underused and unexplored as far as I know of.

The plot of the game is pretty simple but yet very neat. You are a new Warlord of the Kingdom of Aurora with your Eevee. There is a prophecy that foretold if anyone conquered the entire region of Ransei and unites all 17 Kingdoms, a great fortune would be cast on the Warlord who accomplished it. That is the plot in a nutshell. That story lasts somewhere between eight to ten hours if you are playing Pokémon Conquest for the first time. Here is where I think the true brilliance of Pokémon Conquest lies. After that main story, there is 33 other stories/scenarios where you play with different Warlords from the main story. Each story has different goals and a ranging difficulty to test your skill. To put in perspective, I have 75 hours logged into this game, and I only did about 20 of the 33 stories. If I would have to estimate, this game could easily be played for 200 or more hours with content that never really gets old.

Here is where I would say the parts of the game I did not like as much, except there is not anything majorly wrong with the game. I have some nitpicks like some maps have really annoying hazards and the move Dragon Rage is extremely overpowered. I had a really hard time coming up with those, which just go to show you how much I loved this game.

Pokémon Conquest is a very unique and entertaining game. If you are a Pokémon fan and have not played this game yet, I recommend playing it as soon as possible. It is a refreshing take on Pokémon mechanics that has a great battle system, one that is honestly better than any other Pokémon game. Give this game a go, I am confident you will like it.


Character Review

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

Pikachu

I am cute and I am proud.

There are quite a lot of things I keep to myself, and so it may surprise many readers that I'm actually a massive fan of the Pokémon series. This is actually why I'm reviewing a Pokémon character as opposed to a Zelda character, mainly because I don't want to be talking out of my ass, even though I'll be doing that anyway.

Pikachu is the mascot of Pokémon, and in all honesty I can't see any other Pokémon fulfilling that role in quite the same way, yes Mewtwo and Charizard are obvious contenders, but something feels off about having either of them being the mascot and yet something feels so right about having Pikachu. Maybe it's because it is just a bog standard Pokémon, it's not a super powerful legendary nor is it a fully evolved starter, it's just Pikachu, the little electric mouse like thing.

Which brings me onto the Pokémon games, and in the main series its mascot status isn't really touched upon, the game in which it is is Pokémon Yellow, in which you have to have it as your starter Pokémon. In the other main series games it's just a random encounter that you can choose not to accompany you. In the spin off games, its mascot status was also barely touched upon, sure it was a common find in Pokémon Link, but again it was just a random Pokémon in the Pokémon Ranger series, yes it may have been an available starter in all of the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, but in the first ones Cubone and Skitty were as well, and they're hardly mascot material. It was only Gates to Infinity that started hinting toward its mascot status in which the only available playable Pokémon were Snivy, Tepig and Oshawott (the starters from the most recent game at that time), Pikachu and Axew (Pikachu's equivalent to Iris in the anime). More recent spin-offs have now, however, started hinting at Pikachu's mascot status: in Pokken Tournament not only is Pikachu a playable fighter, so it Pikachu Libra, its Tough Contest incarnation in Pokemon Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire; and in Detective Pikachu it is of course the main character.

Just in case you didn't know who I was.

As the mascot of Pokemon, Pikachu does appear in the Super Smash Bros. series, and it also brings with it some of its iconic moves like Thundershock, or Thunder or even Volt Tackle. It even gets a bit of character within Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary mode, where it is seen being loyal to those who provide it with friendship, as Samus did when he rescued it from the generator.

You'd think it'd receive a lot of development in the anime, but in all honesty I don't think it does. In the first couple of episodes, it obviously does, transitioning from moody Pokémon that wants nothing to do with Ash to realizing his care for his Pokémon, and ever since that Pikachu has been by Ash's side and acts as a mentor to all his other Pokémon, and that's that really. I'll be honest, I haven't watched the newer episodes of the anime, Diamond and Pearl was when I stopped, and so maybe in Unova and Kalos he's being getting a tonne of development, but I doubt that. There's also the small matter of Pikachu's level in the anime, clearly he has to be a high one by the end of the series, but then when a new one starts he's gone down massively and can lose to the starting Pokémon in that region, which is kind of ridiculous.

All in all, Pikachu is a worthy mascot of the Pokémon series, I just wish they could find some way to exploit this status within the games. In other Nintendo series this is simple, as the mascots are the playable characters, but in Pokémon where there's about 750 odd, Pikachu being named mascot is the only thing that makes it stand out from the crowd.


Location, Location

Written by: Time Turner (talk)

Bowser Pad
MPA Bowser Pad.png
Music "Town Area Building" / "Love Quest Accepted!"
Area Town Area of Shroom City
Inhabitants Bowser, Koopa Kid
Enemies Bowser’s nothing but cuddles.
Items One gift to rule them all
First Appearance Mario Party Advance (2005)

Hello, romantic readers of The 'Shroom! My name is Time Turner, and I’m here to proudly present another installment of Location, Location! We’re in the middle of the month of love, full of heart-shaped chocolates, heart-shaped kisses, heart-shaped hearts and all of that mushy junk. What better way to celebrate than by spending time with your loved ones? If that’s not to your liking, why not look at the exploits of someone who’s utterly failed at romance, like Bowser? There isn’t quite a location that encapsulates the turtle king’s romantic missteps with princesses, but the poor guy’s been down on his luck so much that I’d be remiss to not cover him this month. With that mind, I took a glance at one of Bowser’s simpler escapades, where it was only him and his Koopa Kid lackey against one of four playable characters in a solo party game. We’re in for a doozy, folks; that’s right, it’s Bowser's Bachelor Pad!

I'm not even kidding.

Mario Party Advance is not a good game, and that doesn’t stop me from loving it. The premise alone is cause for concern: I’m not kidding when a large majority of a game with "Party" in the title is single-player. The alternatives for multi-player include the wonky and unwieldy link cables and a physical board that came packaged with the game, requiring you to use an in-game dice and occasionally play one of the Gaddgets (think minigames that are even smaller than what you'd expect) that are clunkily adapted for four players. Considering I was a single child and I wasn't allowed to bring my video games anywhere, I grew attached to the solo experience and relished the quirky characters, the colourful locations, the charming writing, and the experience of slowly and steadily unlocking everything in the game, dooming me to a life of completionism. I've probably dedicated more time to this game than I care to admit, and I don 't regret much of it at all. Chiefly among the reasons why I don't regret it involves Bowser.

To put it simply, Bowser in this game is ridiculously goofy and that's completely for the better. There's no portrayal of him that's feebler throughout the entire series except maybe Super Paper Mario. He's set up to be the antagonist in several of the quests, though some of Bowser's nefarious obstacles involve him defending his title as an undefeated goalkeeper at Bowser Stadium, asking the player to tell him jokes and warm him up because he's too cold at Mt. Frostbite, becoming a stereotypical mad scientist and siccing Naval Piranha on the player at Bowser Lab, and quizzing the player on Toad Force V to prove that he's the bigger fan at Bowser Toy Shop. The scenarios alone are enough to make the encounters with Bowser memorable, and the banter between him, his Koopa Kid, and the player more than contribute to it. With that in mind, what could our topic's scenario be? In this case, Bowser asks the player to give him, "the swoon master," the perfect romantic gift. Shippers, eat your heart out.

This is how you create high expectations.

As much as I’m sure you all want to know to the dirty details, I’ll save the best for last and cover its aesthetics first. When it comes to its design, it certainly delivers on expectations, with the entire setting being bathed in a purple glow. Since Bowser and co. are put center stage, there isn’t much time to get settled into the location, but for the few moments where Bowser can be seen lounging on a fabulous purple throne, with pretty flowers and pink curtains making up his background, a martini glass with a suspicious green drink sitting just a few feet from him, it is glorious. The quest comes out of nowhere, and likewise, there isn't anything remotely close to the visuals of Bowser Pad even with the other romance quests, which exists as a subcategory and has multiple entries. As I described above, it's not like Bowser is any stranger to eccentric quests. However, even with the warning of a "romance quest," the splash of purple colours coming from Bowser of all people is jarring and that makes it all the more memorable.

The same cannot be said for the music. The tracks in the game are played based on where the questgiver is (Desert Area, Jungle Area, Horror Area, etc.), and then on what type of quest is being given (mystery, sports, gambling, etc.). This results in most of the songs being generic enough to suit whatever situation it's in. On one hand, this allows the players to easily recognize what they're in for and lets the composers focus on other tasks like creating unique jingles for every minigame. On the other hand, it's really disappointing to venture into someplace new with someone different to greet you, and yet hear the exact same track again. It doesn't outright prevent characters or locations from standing out, but it places a lot more of the burden on them to make themselves known. This is especially unsatisfying when encountering Bowser himself, the big bad of the game and the franchise as a whole, gets the same tunes as everyone else in the Town Area and everyone else with a romance quest.

You do you, turtle king.

Now, on to the good stuff! After Bowser presents himself as "the swoon master" and "the regent of romance", he asks the player to present to him a gift that perfectly captures his interests, something that will make him putty in the player's hands, something that can warm his frozen heart, and other clichés that can be used in conjunction with romancing a giant ox/turtle/dinosaur hybrid. The means of acquiring the perfect gift are actually not so complicated: Bowser presents three options of a Ring, Bracelet, and Necklace and asks the player to guess which one he'd like the most with the help of a few hints that blatantly give away the answer. They basically amount to "x > y & y == z", leading to the logical conclusion of "x > z", and our x in this case is the Ring. After jumping through the logical hoops that are visible to a blind person, the player must then head to Junk, purchase the perfect gift of their desiring from Paratroopa (on a sidenote, he always says that Bowser will love your gift no matter what you pick, the little jerk), and head back to Bowser Pad. Bowser is marvelled by the Ring's shininess, and prompt challenges the player to a minigame for the date's finale. You get three guesses as to who will win, and the first two don't count. After that, the quest is basically over.

As much as I've hyped this quest up, and as much as I've talked about the perils of hype, I think that I'm probably more in love with the idea than I am with the execution. There's still the same charm in the dialog, but there's so many creative ways to run with this idea. Some of these ways would probably be best reserved for the halls of fanfiction, but when Bowser's first words are "Welcome to Bowser's Bachelor Pad!", you become excited at the possibilities, only to become disappointed when those possibilities aren't realized. Maybe it would have been better if the puzzle to pick the right gift was more detailed - obviously, this isn't a game meant to critically challenge the mind of its players, but a little depth hardly hurts - or even if the system was retooled to allow multiple correct options for gifts. Maybe the entire quest could have been done in a parody of dating sims, similar to Francis' date with Princess Peach in Super Paper Mario, which could have led to some wonderfully corny dialogue. It's not much, but at the very least, it's something more than what's already here.

Run behind pillars, repeat until bored.

"But wait," you say, "what about the minigame?" Well, first of all, I'm glad and a bit surprised that you care about this silly game as much as I do. More importantly, the minigame in question is Peek-n-Sneak, a decidedly non-romantic game based around sneaking past the red, green, and blue Koopa Kids by running from pillar to pillar behind their backs. If a single Koopa Kid turns around and notices the player, it's game over. The trick is that each colour turns around in unison with Koopa Kids of the same colour. It's really a matter of being patient; the game starts off with a time limit of ninety-nine seconds, and after every ten Koopa Kids, a bonus of twenty seconds is added to the timer. Even if the minigame didn't allot such a generous amount of time, the minigame is incredibly simple to beat as long as you don't have a habit of blindly rushing forward. With the other Koopa Kid minigames in mind, Peek-n-Sneak isn't the most staggering surprise, though I still can't help but feel underwhelmed.

And so ends this chapter of love (barring the Gaddget that's rewarded, Shroom Bloom, but moisturizing a Mushroom is about as exciting as it sounds and about as relevant to romance as Peek-n-Sneak); as it turns out, there wasn't much love to be had. I'll freely admit that my nostalgia may be colouring some of my opinions, but solely from a critical viewpoint, a lot of the location doesn't hold up. The music is passable but generic, the plotline is a glorified fetch quest and barely taps into its full potential, both the final minigame and Gaddget in the quest are mediocre at best, and Bowser is still miles away from actually getting someone to fall in love with him. A lot of the locations in this game have similar issues, now that I think about it, but that definitely hasn't stopped me from going back to the game just for fun. For all of its kinks, I still greatly enjoy Mario Party Advance, but I'll probably be better off not poring over every detail.


Meta Knight's Boss Battle Review

Written by: Meta Knight (talk)


Ah, Pokémon. I can't believe it's been 20 years of this gigantic franchise. It's older than me! I have many fond memories with this franchise. Traveling around the world discovering new creatures to bond with can be so much fun. There's many random trainers you'll fight along with the standard Gym Leaders as you make your way to be the very best.

Personally, I prefer Squirtle

Back in the days of Red, Blue, and Yellow, you play as Red. As the Kanto region was explored, many players were in love with their Pokemon. They took down Team Rocket, became the Champion, and caught them all. Players spent hours with these games. Despite being outdated I still enjoy these games.

So 3 years later, a new protagonist would set on their journey. A new generation would experience the expanded world of Pokémon, with many new trainers to battle. Once the hero of Gold/Silver/Crystal gets 8 badges, they go after the Elite Four again.

Hooray, you beat Lance! You beat the game and....wait.....you can go to Kanto? Another 8 badges awaited. Players around the world were enjoying this expanded postgame. Yet, once you get all 8 badges, you still had to catch them all.

Hey wait a minute, that guy said to go to Mount Silver, I'll bet there's Pokémon there.

As trainers across the world went through Mount Silver, packing their repels, HM slaves, and more, players dug through to capture Moltres! However.... they explored further. One final challenge remained.

You finally made it to the peak. It is icy cold. At the edge of the summit, one lone trainer is there. You talk to him. He responds with nothing.

RedChampion.png



Oh snap! People that played the original Red and Blue were mindblown. Seeing Red here was such an awesome thing to have. It is also worth noting that Red is not screwing around by any means. He's definitely the toughest trainer in the game. While Red has appeared in other games as a trainer, it's in Gold/Silver/Crystal, and Heartgold/Soulsilver that Red is the most memorable.

Red's Team
Gold, Silver, Crystal Pokémon Pikachu Espeon Snorlax Venusaur Charizard Blastoise
Type Electric Psychic Normal Grass/Poison Fire/Flying Water
Level Lv. 81 Lv. 73 Lv. 75 Lv. 77 Lv. 77 Lv. 77

Red's Team
Heartgold, Soulsilver Pokémon Pikachu Lapras Snorlax Venusaur Charizard Blastoise
Type Electric Water/Ice Normal Grass/Poison Fire/Flying Water
Level Lv. 88 Lv. 80 Lv. 82 Lv. 84 Lv. 84 Lv. 84

As you can see, Red is packing some powerful Pokémon. He can be very difficult if you have not trained properly. Be sure to bring plenty of supplies as well. In Heartgold/Soulsilver, Hail weather is a constant threat. In addition to that, in Generation IV Red's Snorlax, Blastoise, and his Lapras all know Blizzard. Blizzard has 100% accuracy in hail weather, so Flying types beware!

But how is the battle itself? As already mentioned, it's incredibly memorable. They could've made any trainer to fight post game with high level Pokemon. The fact that they used a character that had huge significance in the past, plus the fact that they let him use all three previous starters is really cool. It's so thrilling, with moments like when Red hits your team with an attack and your Pokémon barely survives. Or when you take your Typhlosion and use Flamethrower to wipe out his Venusaur. Maybe you'll use your legendary Pokémon to take it out. However you choose to do so is up to you, but no matter what the battle is intense. The music really helps to set the mood as well. You are the Champion of Johto, but who is the best trainer of all time? This battle is to determine that. Two trainers that became the very best, but there can only be one. This battle brings even more tension than Lance does, and for good reason. All of Red's Pokémonare over level 80. Most of the Pokémon I had were just barely at Level 60 when I encountered Red for the first time.

If you haven't already fought this battle, I highly recommend giving it a try. It has everything that makes a Pokémon battle great. Challenge, tension, and atmosphere. It takes a while to get to Red, but it is definitely worth it. After all, if you beat him in Heartgold/Soulsilver, you'll be able to catch some cool legendary Pokémon as well as gain some starter Pokémon.


Movie Reviews

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

Deadpool

Deadpool
Deadpool.jpg
Genres Superhero / Comedy
Release date February 2016
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller
Runtime 108 minutes
Ratings R (US), 15 (UK)

Ah, Deadpool, the film we've been waiting to see since 2004, surely something that's been in development hell for so long has to be worth the wait. My short answer is yes, my long answer is what you're about to read.

Now, let's be honest, the main thing about Deadpool that will be dragging people in is its comedy aspect. And not only does it succeed in this aspect, it manages to do so without using racist slurs or fart jokes, yes of course, it includes dick and sex jokes, but the comedy doesn't just rely on those ones, it has genuine one liners that easily make you laugh out loud line. In the theatre where I watched it, even the elderly people who'd gone to seen it were having a good time. The comedy begins even before the film truly starts, with the opening scene being a still in time, and instead of proper opening credits it's more humourous descriptions including: a British villain, a moody teen, and God's greatest gift to man. The constant breaking of the fourth wall is also a welcome comedic device and is probably the creator of many of the funniest parts of the film.

The superhero aspect of the film is sort of where it falls a bit flat, but that's okay. This isn't meant to be a superhero film in the style of The Avengers, and whilst it's certainly no high-brow satirical take on the genre it certainly spins it in its own unique way. The superheroes used in the film though, aren't the massive headline stars, though. The only two I recognized were Deadpool and Colossus, and I'm fairly certain you're scraping the barrel when you're using Angel Dust and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (and no, I am not making up this name) as some of your main characters. But if you're going to go see it as a superhero film, you are kind of missing the point of it.

Like most films these days, there is also a romance within the film. And despite it being prostitute and client fall for each other, it doesn't feel forced and Reynolds and Baccarin share a very nice chemistry together, even if the majority of their screen-time together is in a sex montage. And whilst Baccarin's character is kidnapped by Ajax (the main villain), due to her actions in the final fight and Deadpool's own reasons for pursuing Ajax it doesn't feel like she has only been kidnapped for plot purposes.

However, sadly Deadpool does lack majorly in one area, and that would be character development and motivation. Deadpool is the only character in the entire who ends up getting development, and in all honesty it probably comes from one of my favourite parts about this film, it's not just its own origin story, the origin story is contained within the film through various flashbacks, and whilst they may briefly interrupt the flow they work incredibly well to reveal why Deadpool is how he is and they do not feel tacked on at all. Every other character, though, gets nothing. The character motivation feels even worse, however, whilst yes Deadpool has perfectly fine motives, those being his permanent disfigurement due to Ajax's experiments, Ajax's motivations as a villain are just incredibly poor. He leaves Deadpool permanently disfigured due to Deadpool discovering what his real name is, and for being an annoying douche, and for a villain who's not meant to feel anything these reasons are incredibly pathetic. In all honesty the main plot boils down to the discovery of a name. Wow. The only other character who receives anything in the way of motivation is Colossus, in which he keeps trying to get Deadpool to join the X-Men, but this just ends up making his character incredibly one-note and boring.

All in all, Deadpool is well worth the money. It is a near-constant barrage of jokes and has enough action in it to make sure nothing boring happens. However, if you're looking for a film that sensitively covers Deadpool's disfigurement or terminal cancer, then you're looking down the wrong alley. If you're looking for a film that covers his omnisexuality in a mature way, then you best hope that boner jokes in the credits are mature enough for you. If you're looking for a film to make you laugh and have an enjoyable time, then I point in the direction of this film's screen.


The 'Shroom 107
Staff sections Opening Statement
The 'Shroom Spotlight
Sub-teams Fake NewsFun StuffPalette SwapPipe PlazaCritic CornerStrategy Wing
Specials Dippy's Top 10 Games of 20152016 in AnticipationUltimate Character TournamentZelda Memories
Closing Statement

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